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Ciguaterra Poisoning

 
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Mats
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2008 5:12 am    Post subject: Ciguaterra Poisoning Reply with quote

Our local supermarket has been expanding its fresh fish section lately. I've been trying various kinds of fish that I've never had before. In this spirit of adventure, I bought a grouper fillet this week. A quick glance at the Joy of Cooking revealed this small note: "Large fish of over 10 pounds are more likely to carry ciguaterra poisoning and should be avoided". Hmmm... so what the heck is ciguaterra poisoning?? Well, this turns out to be a phenomenon of small reef fish eating toxic algea and the toxin then being accumulated in larger fish (like groupers) who feed on them. The toxin cannot be eliminated from the affected fish. As my fillet came from a large grouper, I decided to send it directly to the local landfill!!! http://www.sailorgirl.com/s/m10_cig.htm



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ejm
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Jul, 2008 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
A quick glance at the Joy of Cooking revealed this small note: "Large fish of over 10 pounds are more likely to carry ciguaterra poisoning and should be avoided" Hmmm... so what the heck is ciguaterra poisoning??


That was my question exactly! Ciguatera poisoning?? What's that?!

wikipedia: cigatera wrote:
Due to the localized nature of the ciguatoxin-producing microorganisms, ciguatera illness is only common in tropical waters [...] avoidance of consumption of all reef fish (any fish living in warm tropical waters) is the only sure way to avoid exposure to the toxin. [...] In addition, ciguatoxin has been found in farm-raised salmon.

In February 2008, the FDA reported that several outbreaks of the disease had been traced to fish harvested near the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northern Gulf of Mexico, near the Texas-Louisiana shoreline. The FDA advised seafood processors that ciguatera poisoning was "reasonably likely" to occur from consuming any of several species of fish caught as far as 50 miles (eighty km) from the sanctuary.

(excerpt from wikipedia: ciguatera)


I wonder how common this poisoning is; I thought there more likelihood of getting mercury poisoning from fish....

After reading "Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World" by Mark Kurlansky, I'm starting to think that we shouldn't be eating fish at all. It seems that almost all the fishes have been overfished.

I just looked at this handy Seafood Selector chart, Environmental Defense Fund: Find a Fish and am sad to see that all groupers are in the EDF's "Eco-Worst" column:

Environmental Defense Fund: Find a Fish wrote:
Grouper

Eco-Worst Choice: Avoid for now due to considerable ecological concerns. Health Alert: Elevated levels of mercury.
[...] Eco Details: Several species of grouper are severely depleted.

(excerpt from EDF: Grouper)


Hmmm... good thing you decided NOT to eat the fish, MEF. And too bad that the supermarket is expanding in the direction of carrying endangered and toxic species.


edit: I KNEW there was another seafood chart I'd seen on the internet! seachoice.org: Seafood SearchSurprisingly though, grouper is not listed at all. But looking in wikipedia, I see that black sea bass is in the grouper family.

----------
My first thought was that there may be as much chance of getting ciguatera poisoning from fish as there is of getting BSE from beef. And now I'm starting to wonder if there's ANYTHING safe to eat.



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Last edited by ejm on Sun 20 Jul, 2008 6:02 pm; edited 2 times in total
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David
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PostPosted: Sun 20 Jul, 2008 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ejm wrote:

I just looked at this handy Seafood Selector chart, Environmental Defense Fund: Find a Fish


I'm relieved to see that the fish I eat most commonly are in the "green" column and those I eat rarely are in the other columns. Not surprisingly, the cost of them is reflected by their scarceness. This is all the prompting I need to totally avoid all species under threat. One thing I would dispute though is the eco threats posed by farmed salmon. A few badly managed and poorly regulated farms should not be allowed to damage the reputation of the majority of good farms
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